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Israel Summons Polish Diplomat Over Holocaust Bill

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On January 26, Poland passed legislation, banning speculation on the nation’s complicity in crimes against humanity committed by Nazi Germany during World War II.

Two days after the bill was adopted, Israel summoned Piotr Kozlowski, the charge d’affaire for Poland’s embassy, for clarification.

"Israel's opposition to the wording of the bill was expressed to him. The timing of the bill – the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day – was particularly surprising and unfortunate," Israel’s foreign ministry said, adding that "the legislation will not help further the exposure of historical truth and may harm freedom of research, as well as prevent discussion of the historical message and legacy of World War II".

The bill, adopted by Poland’s rightwing-dominated parliament, set a maximum  three-year jail term for anyone who blamed the Nazi atrocities on  Poles, or referred to Nazi German concentration camps as being Polish.

Isaac Herzog, a newly elected leader of the Labor Party gestures during an interview in his office in Jerusalem, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013 - Sputnik International
Israeli Opposition Calls for Recalling Poland Ambassador Amid Holocaust Bill Row

On January 27, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Warsaw of seeking to distort facts and deny history.

"We have no tolerance for the distortion of the truth and rewriting history or denying the Holocaust," he said.

The bill must pass the Senate before being signed by the president, but Netanyahu made it clear that “that it must be changed.”

Polish officials, including the country’s Prime Minsiter Mateusz Morawiecki, have repeatedly requested corrections when media refer to Nazi death camps as Polish, such as Auschwitz.

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